In a story that flew under the national news radar, Congress lifted the 5-year ban on horse slaughter.
The actual effect of Congress's action is that the ban against funding for inspections of horse meat has been lifted, although no particular source of additional funding has been identified for the USDA.
The ban had resulted in the shipping of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter, creating a potential loss of business. As the article states, "Agricultur[al] groups have argued that the ban didn't stop horse slaughter but took away a $65 million dollar a year industry and sent it to Canada and Mexico." Proponents also claim that the number of neglected and abandoned horses has risen since the ban was put into place.
Animal rights groups fear that the establishment of slaughter houses may create an outlet for people no longer wishing to care for their animals, choosing to see what price they could get per pound rather than continuing to care for their horses.
While there is currently no market for horse meat in the U.S., it is considered a delicacy in other countries.
It will be interesting to see whether Congress will reverse its decision or the issue will continue to go unnoticed amidst other national concerns.
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